Dawn News

UN bodies to help Kurram IDPs return

PESHAWAR, June 28: The United Nations’ agencies will provide assistance for rehabilitation of internally displaced persons, who were uprooted during sectarian violence in Kurram Agency, according to officials.

The humanitarian organisations had earlier refused to assist the families displaced from upper and lower Kurram in the aftermath of clashes between rival sects.

Sources in Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA) said that the UN bodies had earlier refused to support the families, who were affected by sectarian clashes in upper and lower Kurram Agency.

“The authority has finally won support of the UN agencies and they have agreed to help return programme of IDPs in Kurram,” said an official.

Initially, he said, the UN agencies contented that their mandate was to help only militancy-affected people and areas affected by local conflicts were not in their purview.

Officials said that around 10,400 families had been displaced owing to sectarian clashes erupted in Kurram Agency in November 2007. The families of Shia, displaced from Sunni dominated areas, had moved to Parachinar while Sunnis had shifted from Shia dominated areas to Thall, Hangu, Kohat, Peshawar and other parts of the country.

Authorities had started rehabilitation of affected families in upper and lower Kurram with the reopening of Thall-Parachinar Road in November 2011 after rival groups signed a peace agreement.

An official in Parachinar, the agency headquarters, said that large number of displaced families had returned to their native villages and started reconstruction of houses.

The areas where reconstruction and rehabilitation activities have been started include Parachinar City, Boghra, Makhzai, Jilamay, Chardiwall, Bugzai, Alizai Morokhel, Mandori and Arawali. The families evacuated from Parachinar are being brought back and in first phase people uprooted from Mirajan Colony of the town are being rehabilitated.

The UN agencies’ package includes shelter, food, hygiene kits, non-food items and provision of other basic facilities like health, water and education. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is providing shelter to the affected people while World Food Programme (WFP) is distributing food among them. The FDMA in coordination with the local administration would provide transportation to the returning tribal people.

Officials said that political administration was also paying compensation to the families affected in sectarian clashes. The administration was paying Rs300,000 for each damaged house, they added.

They said that every affected family was paid Rs50,000 before construction of shelter while second installment would be paid after completion of construction work.

An official of FDMA said that political administration had paid first installment to around 2,000 affected families for reconstruction of houses. The UNHCR in collaboration with FDMA had constructed 281 single-room shelter houses in Makhzai area of lower Kurram.

Return of the displaced persons to central Kurram Agency was also started after security forces declared Mosizai area safe.

Officials said that return programme to Mosizai was started on June 20 and total 1,774 displaced families had been sent back to their villages till Thursday.

The security forces had launched operation against militants in the mountainous area adjacent to Afghanistan in August 2011 and total 17,760 families were displaced from there. About 4,000 families are residing in New Durrani Camp while the remaining families are living off camp.

The officials, who visited Mosizai, said that majority of the houses and other infrastructure had been destroyed. The government and UN agencies are providing transportation, food and shelter to the people returning to central Kurram.

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